Category Archives: Christian Life



“I am writing to you who are God’s children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus. I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one. I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.”
1 John 2:12-14 NLT

John addressed his letter to all categories within the readers, young and old, mature and immature, those who were starting out on their journey with Jesus and those who had been on the road for a while. All had place in the family of God, and all had already embraced the truths that brought them to where they were.

Newborn children of God were held secure by their knowledge and experience of the forgiveness of sin. O, the joy of the sin-burden lifted and removed forever. Gone the dark cloud of guilt shame, and fear hanging over their heads! No matter their chronological age, they were new inside, beginning their new life in the joy and freedom of reconciliation to the Father.

Together with this new-found freedom came the strength to continue, to grow up and mature in Christ. They had won the battle over Satan’s control through faith in Jesus. They had embraced the message of salvation; God’s Word had come alive in their hearts. They were securely on the road to maturity as long as they persevered on this way.

To those who had been on the way for a while, John wrote to encourage them in their pursuit of God. As Jesus had prayed on the eve of His death…

“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”
John 17:3 NLT

…So, John wrote his letter to help them to know by experience the reality of Jesus’ life in them. Knowing God, knowing Jesus, is the essence of eternal life.

Knowing about the Father and the Son is never enough. Peter urged his readers, in his second letter, to…

“… Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ….”
2 Peter 3:18 NLT

To grow in grace and knowledge is to participate in all the blessings, benefits and training in the salvation God has provided through His Son. As we submit to the Lord Jesus in all the ups and downs of life, we learn His ways, we experience His grace and love, and we get to know Him.

“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honour you.”
Psalms 86:11 NLT

For both “newborns” and mature believers, John’s desire is the same, to encourage them to know God and to have fellowship with the Father and the Son, and God’s people by living in the light of His truth.



“If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.”
1 John 2:9-11 NLT

Darkness is only the absence of light. Darkness cannot stand by itself. It disappears as soon as light appears. Sunrise dispels darkness. Even the tiny light of a candle makes a pool of light in a dark room.

Spiritual darkness is also the absence of light in another realm. In the first chapter of this letter, John stated that “God is light, and there is no darkness in Him.” Darkness, here, is figurative as well as literal. As much as He is the source of all physical light in the universe, God is also the source of all truth and wisdom, the light that enlightens us about Himself, us, and how to live in this world.

Conversely, sin has taken God’s light from us and plunged us into the darkness of spiritual death. We are separated from God and live in the realm of darkness, the realm ruled by the prince of darkness, the devil.

“Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 NLT

How does God communicate His “light” to us who are in spiritual “darkness” because of our sin?

He sent His “light” into the world to show and declare God’s truth to us.

“God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
John 1:6-9 NLT

However, we no longer have physical access to Jesus, since He is at the right hand of the Father in heaven. How can we know and receive the light that will take away our darkness?

The psalmist wrote,

“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
Psalms 119:105 NLT

God has provided a way for us to access this light so that we can find the way to the Father. He has inspired and preserved a written record of that Light for us to read, believe, and experience.

The light of God’s Word leads us to Jesus, the true light that enlightens everyone who comes into the world.

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 8:12 NLT

Simply put, when we believe and receive the message about Jesus,

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”
Romans 10:17 NLT

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts…
2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NLT

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
Romans 10:9-10 NLT

The teachings of Jesus, the true Light, encompasses life in all its facets. When we follow Him, we walk in the light is His word as He walked in obedience to the Father’s word. Then we have fellowship with Him and with His people.

But…. to claim allegiance to Jesus and, at the same time, to hate a fellow believer is a contradiction. Our claim and behaviour make us liars. We can only be one with God and one another if we walk in God’s word.

“So, we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
1 John 1:6-7 NLT



“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
1 John 2:1 NLT

How did John discover the meaning and intricacies of Jesus’ death and resurrection? He lived in close contact with Jesus, the man, for more than three years. He knew that Jesus was a real man, doing all the things that real people do. Now he writes, of that man, things that humans do not do. What made the difference?

Not only did John hear Jesus’ promise of the Spirit in power on the day of Pentecost, the promise of power and revelation…

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you… But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
John 14:16, 26 NLT

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’ “
John 16:13-15 NLT

… But he also fully experienced living with Jesus, and the Spirit’s power and revelation in his own heart and life when the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples at Pentecost.

Thus, he could say, “We have seen, touched, felt, and experienced the impact of this man’s life and words in our lives.”

John knew what sin did to him. He knew that no animal sacrifice could deal with his sin. However many lambs were killed on his behalf, his guilt and shame were always on his conscience, accusing him before God.

John also knew the blessed release of forgiveness. The moment the truth dawned on him that the bloodied form hanging on a Roman torture stake, the glorious Lord who emerged alive from His burial place, meant a forgiveness so powerful that his guilt and shame lifted from him forever. The peace that settled in his heart convinced him that this salvation was real and forever.

So, he could write, “We are free from sins past and free not to sin again, but…if we do, the Advocate who spoke for us will continue to speak because His death has dealt with all sin for all time.”

John was a realist. He knew that, although all his sin was forgiven and his guilt taken away, and that the Holy Spirit in him gave him power over sin, he still could still sin because he still had an old nature in him, prone to go astray. What a comfort to know that Jesus was always at the right hand of the Father, his Advocate and Intercessor, presenting His blood as the answer to his sin problem.

At those times when he was either caught unawares, failing to be vigilant or giving in to the pull of sinful desires, Jesus, his Advocate in the court of heaven, was there to defend him.

On what grounds is John so sure that Jesus will adequately plead his case before the Father?

“He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.”
1 John 2:1-2 NLT

Firstly, He is the righteous one. He qualified to atone for our sin as the perfect lamb because there was no sin in Him.

Secondly His death paid the debt for all sin, for all people, for all time. He is….

“…. the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made.”
Revelation 13:8 NLT

Thirdly, the names of the redeemed are indelibly written in the Lamb’s book of life. Nothing can erase those names except deliberate renunciation of Jesus as Lord.

So, we rejoice as we persevere in our faith and walk with Jesus since there is nothing in heaven, on earth, or under the earth that can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus.

“… The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”
John 14:17 NIV

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:38-39 NIV



“And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:3-6 NLT

How many church goers today live in self-deception!  Claiming to be “born-again” believers is no criterion unless obedience to Jesus as Lord accompanies the claim.

Jesus gave His disciples a simple test… “Do you love me? Then do what I tell you.” He asked a question of those who persistently followed Him without ever having any intention to be true disciples.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.”
Luke 6:46-48 NLT

Obedience to Jesus’s teaching is the only proof that we are His disciples, in union with Him through the indwelling Holy Spirit and representing Him to an unbelieving world. Such followers experience the power of His life working in and through them.

Unfortunately, there are streams in the modern church that go after “signs and wonders” to prove their allegiance to Jesus. Some claim supernatural offices and accompanying “ministries” as their superior authority in the church.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day, many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ “
Matthew 7:21-23 NLT

Jesus set a different, simple test to authenticate a true disciple. “Knowing Him” is the real issue.

“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”
John 17:3 NLT

What does knowing Him mean?

King Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, failed to live up to his father’s example. He lavished his wealth on himself instead of caring for his needy subjects. God came down hard on him, revealing, at the same time, His criterion for knowing God.

“But a beautiful cedar palace does not make a great king! Your father, Josiah, also had plenty to eat and drink. But he was just and right in all his dealings. That is why God blessed him. He gave justice and help to the poor and needy, and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me?” says the Lord.”
Jeremiah 22:15-16 NLT

So, we can only prove any claim that we know God to be true if we genuinely share Jesus’ heart for people. This means doing something about their needs if we can. Of course, we can’t save the world but, as Mother Teresa said, when challenged, “I can save this one!”

Jesus judges the nations by the same standard as He judges individuals.

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “
Matthew 25:31-36 NL

Just imagine, if the church, including those who fight about doctrines, claim illegitimate authority, or sniff out those who don’t believe or do what they do, cared more about loving Jesus by loving His people, what a witness to the world that would be!



“And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.”
1 John 2:3-6 NLT

It’s a tragedy that so many people who claim to be God’s children have been lulled to sleep or lured away from the simple truths of the gospel by additions to His Word that pander to the flesh. Their unchanged lives expose their self-deception and reveal the lie that they know God.

The Bible is very clear. Faith in Jesus produces miraculous changes in us that only God’s grace can make. Outside of the power of His grace revealed to us in His salvation, we can make claims and pretend for a while but, inevitably, our self-effort will fail and we will revert to our old, ungodly ways.

What changes has grace made in our lives that confirm our new position and status as members of His family and citizens in His kingdom?

We have a new Master. Our faith in Jesus is based on the truth that Jesus, not Satan, is Lord.

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:9 NLT

We have been supernaturally delivered from Satan’s domain to live under the supreme authority of Jesus in God’s kingdom.

“For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,”
Colossians 1:13 NLT

He has raised us from spiritual death and given us new life in Christ.

“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins…. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 NLT

He gave us His nature which we share by accessing His promises of power and grace.

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
2 Peter 1:4 NLT

He has permanently erased our past and made us a new species in Christ.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

We are no longer God’s enemies. He has reconciled us to Himself by forgiving our sin and giving us the righteousness of Jesus.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us…. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.”
Romans 5:1, 10 NLT

We have God’s peace ruling in our hearts.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

He has given us everything we need to live godly lives.

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvellous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.”
2 Peter 1:3-4 NLT

And so we can go enumerating every detail of this miraculous transaction called “salvation” that Jesus accomplished through His death in the cross.

Our allegiance to Jesus and the transformation He has made in us by His grace gives us a powerful motivation to obey His commandments. Our response to His great love binds our hearts to Him.

“This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”
1 John 4:10 NLT

Jesus bound up all His commandments in one simple instruction.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:34-35 NLT

“Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”
1 John 4:11-12 NLT

“Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”
Ephesians 5:2 NLT

Loving His people is Jesus’ simple test and prescription for obeying Him. How did He restore Peter after His denial?

“After breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.”
John 21:15-17 NLT

Not, “Why did you do it?” or “You are suspended for a while,” or “You are disqualified from ministry,” but “Do you love me?”

Jesus asks us to…
Take care of our family’s practical needs…

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?”
1 John 3:17 NLT

Guard our unity by submitting to one another…

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.”
Ephesians 4:3-6 NLT

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
Ephesians 5:21 NLT

Preserve and protect our fellowship with each other…

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Ephesians 4:2 NLT

Build each other up in our faith…

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever, they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
Ephesians 4:11-16 NLT

So, unless there is evidence of God’s powerful intervention to transform our lives, any claim to know God without the evidence is a lie.